Cybersickness, Cognition, Motor Skills: The Effects of Music, Gender, and Gaming Experience

by   Panagiotis Kourtesis, et al.

Recent research has attempted to identify methods to mitigate cybersickness and examine its aftereffects. In this direction, this paper examines the effects of cybersickness on cognitive, motor, and reading performance in VR. Also, this paper evaluates the mitigating effects of music on cybersickness, as well as the role of gender, and the computing, VR, and gaming experience of the user. This paper reports two studies. In this study, 39 participants performed an assessment four times, once before the rides (baseline), and then once after each ride (3 rides). In each ride either Calming, or Joyful, or No Music was played. During each ride, linear and angular accelerations took place to induce cybersickness in the participants. In each assessment, while immersed in VR, the participants evaluated their cybersickness symptomatology and performed a verbal working memory task, a visuospatial working memory task, and a psychomotor task. While responding to the cybersickness questionnaire (3D UI), eye-tracking was conducted to measure reading time and pupillometry. The results showed that Joyful and Calming music substantially decreased the intensity of nausea-related symptoms. However, only Joyful music significantly decreased the overall cybersickness intensity. Importantly, cybersickness was found to decrease verbal working memory performance and pupil size. Also, it significantly decelerated psychomotor (reaction time) and reading abilities. Higher gaming experience was associated with lower cybersickness. When controlling for gaming experience, there were no significant differences between female and male participants in terms of cybersickness. The outcomes indicated the efficiency of music in mitigating cybersickness, the important role of gaming experience in cybersickness, and the significant effects of cybersickness on pupil size, cognition, psychomotor skills, and reading ability.


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